Kochi

Film captures angst of urban canopy

A view of the Kalamassery forest as seen in the film ‘Urban Canopy’.

A view of the Kalamassery forest as seen in the film ‘Urban Canopy’.  

Mangalavanam has become a bird memorial, not a sanctuary, thanks to the patch of green having been walled in by towering structures all around it.

Hence, the dire need to protect the biodiversity-rich urban forest of Kalamassery, argues “Urban Canopy”, a documentary capturing the biodiversity of the verdant HMT land which the film says is home to about 175 types of birds, 65 types of flora, 35 varieties of spider, six mammal species, nearly 74 varieties of butterflies and nine reptile species.

It’s a mix of forest land and wetland, which acts as a vast reservoir of water and oxygen. Amidst the heat island that the region is fast becoming, this is a cool patch.

The film, shot over nearly two years, was released last year to drive home the need to preserve this precious natural habitat. The extension of Seaport-Airport Road has already caused destruction of the habitats of some bird species. Garbage dumped in the area proves hazardous to the fauna and frequent fire outbreaks in garbage dumps destroy the habitat as well.

“Only last week was there a huge fire deep inside the biodiversity hotspot in which undergrowth over a few acres was completely destroyed,” says M.G. Sujith, writer and maker of the film and a member of Green Grace, a trust formed by nature enthusiasts that has presented the film.

“We are roping in students to sign a mass petition to be submitted to Hibi Eden, MP, demanding that the space be preserved for them. For students, the forest is a natural laboratory for a wide variety of species,” says Mr. Sujith.

The film is available on Youtube.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 3:50:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/film-captures-angst-of-urban-canopy/article30985317.ece

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